By Hillel Aron
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By David Futch
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By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
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Typical for the reporting style of the L.A. Weekly, Bill Bradley’s article “Twiddling Turbine” [March 16–22] contained both inaccurate and misleading information about the February 3 fire incident and shutdown of the Unit 3 reactor at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
While the fire in an adjacent electrical-switch-gear room was relatively small in scope, it caused significant damage. San Onofre officials were very forthright with their public explanation of the incident and the estimated repair time required, based on the available information. In fact, they initially indicated that the impact would cause Unit 3 to be out of service for at least several weeks. Only after a more detailed assessment and disassembly of large and complex plant equipment could we determine that the unit would require more extensive repairs, thereby extending Unit 3’s return-to-service projection to mid-June. Barring any major complications, we are holding to that schedule.
Finally, we must address your irresponsible assertion that the fire incident was somehow related to or the result of the refueling and maintenance work completed for Unit 3 in February. Through hard work, expert execution and great attention to detail, the San Onofre employees diligently completed the work in 32 days — 13 days ahead of schedule. To imply that this effort in any way fell short of the rigorous industry and regulatory standards by which all nuclear operations are conducted is an insult to the men and women who take great pride and care to ensure that they carry out their work professionally, thoroughly and safely.
Great efforts were made to help your reporter understand these facts, but unfortunately he was preoccupied by a sensational and socially irresponsible news angle.
BILL BRADLEY REPLIES: Mr. Golden says I asserted that faster-than-normal refueling of the Unit 3 reactor led to the accident at San Onofre. In fact, I merely noted that the refueling had been faster than usual. In any case, the question of Edison’s management and safety practices as the company tries to deal with reduced financial circumstances remains a serious one.
OUR MS. BROOKS
Re: “The Clampdown” [March 23–29]. Apparently your reporter Sue Horton had to go far afield — to Kim Brooks of the Children’s Law Center in Covington, Kentucky, and Mike Males from the Justice Policy Institute — to find negative responses to my proposal that Los Angeles County teens who bring guns onto school grounds or make terrorist threats be compelled to tour the county Coroner’s Office and see firsthand the results of gun violence. Both of those sources supported Horton’s preconceived notion that the proposal is meant to be punitive rather than preventive, and supplied the required quotes to make it appear that the program is a fit subject for ridicule.
The facts, however, are these: No one has suggested that touring the Coroner’s Office will single-handedly solve the nightmare of gun violence in our schools. But children — who get an unhealthy dose of pretend violence from movies and video games, where the player gets extra points for gunning someone down — may be awakened to the reality of such actions. If that happens, and if it saves the life of one child, the program is worthwhile.
Ms. Brooks is quoted as saying, “I would have extreme concerns about exposing children to morgues and the kind of psychological damage that could cause.” I have greater concerns about exposing children to gunfire from other students. We have seen, far too often, the kind of damage that does cause, not only to the victims and their families, but to our communities in general.
Mr. Males expressed doubt that “such ‘scared straight’ programs are effective.” On the contrary, Los Angeles County’s Teen Drunk Driving Program, through which hundreds of area teenagers have toured the Coroner’s facility and which serves as the model for the proposed program, has proven to be highly effective.
All of these points were discussed with reporter Horton, yet she — or one of your editors — chose to address none of them, since they would give the story a balance and fairness it sorely lacked. We are all seeking responsible answers to the plague of violence in our schools. Irresponsible journalism is just another aspect of the problem, keeping us further from a solution.
—Michael D. Antonovich
Mayor, Los Angeles County
Thanks to Sue Horton for adding some context to the rather sensationalized media frenzy over school shooting incidents. It cannot be overemphasized how many youth have suffered as a result of the actions of the few who have engaged in school shootings. The Weekly’s coverage of the real facts regarding school violence and the trickle-down effect it has on so √Ę many students presented a much-needed balance to media coverage. Bravo!